Republic’s volleyball team came within two points of winning the Lebanon Tournament championship Saturday, before settling for second against Jefferson City Helias, 25-27 25-15 25-23.
The Lady Tigers fought through a key injury to make it to the finals, losing Alex Botkin during pool play early in the day. Botkin went down with an ankle injury during a victory over Francis Howell North, and was out for the rest of the tournament.
Despite that, Republic was very good, not losing a set until the tournament semifinals. The Lady Tigers opened with wins over Lindbergh (27-25 25-23), Francis Howell North (25-14 25-18), and Camdenton (25-7 25-10) in pool play.
In the quarterfinals, the Lady Tigers beat the host team Lebanon, 25-15 25-11.
In the semifinals, against Hermann, Republic finally lost a set. They still managed to advance, 20-25, 25-12 25-22.
In the championship game, Republic jumped on top in a first-set thriller, 27-25. Helias evened the score with a 25-15 second set. And the teams squared off in a nail-biter to decide the championships. Republic trailed 17-18, but won five of the next seven points to snare a 22-20 lead. Helias scored two straight to tie it. The teams exchanged point for a 23-all tie, before Helias won two straight to capture the title.
The weekend’s matches improve Republic’s record to 18-5. The Lady Tigers face one of their biggest matches of the year when they take the court at home Tuesday against Ozark. That battle will have major implications for the Central Ozark Conference championship.